Carotid Artery Ultrasound

Carotid UltrasoundCarotid duplex is an ultrasound test that shows how well blood is flowing through the carotid arteries. The carotid arteries are located in the neck. They supply blood to the brain.

The test is done in the Medical Physics Department. You will be asked to lie on your back. Your head will be supported to prevent it from moving.

The investigator applies a water-soluble gel on your skin and gently runs a handheld probe over the area of the carotid arteries in your neck.

The device sends high-frequency sound waves to the arteries in your neck. The sound waves bounce off the blood vessels and form images or pictures of the insides of the arteries.

No preparation is necessary before the test. You may feel some pressure as the probe is moved around your neck. Some patients hear a "whooshing" sound.

Why the Test is Performed

The carotid ultrasound test checks blood flow in the carotid arteries. It can detect:

  • Blood clotting (thrombosis)
  • Narrowing in the arteries (stenosis)
  • Other causes of blockage in the carotid arteries

Your doctor may order this test if:

  • You have had a stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA)
  • You need a follow-up test because:
    1. The carotid artery was found to be narrowed in the past
    2. You have had surgery on your carotid artery
  • Your doctor hears an abnormal sound called a bruit over the carotid neck arteries. This may mean the artery is narrowed.

There are no specific risks related to having this procedure.